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The FIH and the AHF have taken serious notice of some countries’ refusal to participate in a tournament in Pakistan which was scheduled to be held in September.
Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) efforts to bring back international hockey to the country received a big blow when the teams refused to come.
Shahbaz AHmad SeniorSince the event was approved by FIH, it has told the federations of those countries that without any logical reason they cannot pull out of the event and that they would have to participate.
The PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed told that the FIH had given those federations to confirm their participation in the six-nation championship, which will now take place in December, by October 5.
Shahbaz said the event would now be held from December 13-30 in Lahore and that it was expected that Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Turkey and Sri Lanka would participate.
The PHF secretary mentioned that the expenditures of participation in the event would not be borne by PHF and that the technical officials would be sent by FIH and AHF.
He also confirmed that Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) is in the pipelines, but the progress in that matter was a little bit slow. He claimed that PHL would prove a great change in the national hockey. “Unless we put money in hockey we cannot survive in this beautiful game globally. And it is the money which brings glamour in any sport, be it football, cricket, or tennis,” he said.
Shahbaz conceded that Pakistan team did not perform well in some important international events. “But it doesn’t mean that we have lost hope. We are providing the best facilities to our senior hockey team and likewise we are also preparing our national junior hockey team,” he said.
He said that PHF did not want Roelant Oltmans to resign at this moment but he did not want to continue. “But he did a great job. At least he gave us a roadmap of training and coaching, and we will continue following that. Pakistan players’ fitness has improved a lot. If they control their missing of goal scoring chances, they can win all important matches,” Shahbaz added. Pakistan are to participate in Asian Champions Trophy in Oman, which will be held from October 18-28. Manager Hasan Sardar has been given additional responsibility of head coach.
Meanwhile, the training camp of Pakistan hockey team is going on in Lahore. It would have been better if PHF had included some players of junior team for the camp. After World Cup in December in India, many of the playing eleven of the senior team will retire and the current junior players will replace them.
Sardar has said that the Asian Champions Trophy is an important event because it is the final stage to prepare the team for World Cup.
He said the management was focusing on forwards and PC specialists. “We will address the weaknesses that we identified in Asian Games. Mubashir and Aleem Bilal will be our main drag flickers on PCs, and during the training camp, they will be doing maximum practice in short corners.
“The forward line played well occasionally. Their inconsistency has been the reason behind our defeats in the recent past. The forwards were successful in creating chances but they were poor in finishing,” said Sardar, an Olympian.
He said that the goalkeeper and defenders played well, conceding very few goals in the Asian Games. “We will strengthen them further,” he added.The Asian Champions Trophy will also feature hosts Oman, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and India.
He said that they were trying to find goal scorers, either a drag flicker or a forward. “This is the last hitch which is preventing us from winning big matches such as quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals,” he added.